Exercise is good for you, but only if you do it in the right way. And yet so many people take the wrong approach to fitness, and end up doing more harm to their bodies than can be outweighed by the benefits.
Getting injured during workouts is a good example of this, whether through overstretching yourself or overworking your muscles. To avoid this, take heed of the following tips and swap your bad exercise habits for positive ones.
Consider your diet
You need to be mindful of what you eat in the lead-up to exercise, as well as in the aftermath of a major session.
If you don’t eat enough protein post-workout, for example, your muscles will not be able to repair their torn fibers and could actually undergo the process of breaking down, rather than being built up. Planning a protein-rich meal as your rewards for strenuous exercise is therefore sensible to avoid this.
It’s also important to know that while supplements are impactful, they only work if you use them in the right way. Learning when to take BCAA and Creatine is better than using guesswork or basing your decision on the advice of non-experts, for example.
Most exercise-related injuries occur when you try to launch straight into the most intense workout routines right away.
This even applies for something seemingly straightforward such as running. Going from a cold, standing start to a full speed sprint isn’t ideal, and you risk hurting yourself, particularly if you haven’t worked out much recently.
As such, it’s essential to pace yourself, take things slow at first and gradually gain momentum, before building to more rigorous exercises. Warming up as well as warming down will leave you feeling better, and prepare your body for the other challenges it will face in the hours and days to come.
Follow professionals for advice on form
Another common cause of injuries is using the incorrect form for a given workout, and this is obviously an issue for newcomers to specific exercises.
It’s better to get tips on form from the pros, whether that’s by watching online instructional videos or by attending a class at your nearest gym.
You also need to be willing to change and adapt your form according to new research and advice as and when it becomes accepted in the mainstream; just look at the warm-ups and workouts that were recommended in bygone decades to see why this is important.
Drink lots of water
Another contributing factor to injuries while exercising is dehydration. Your body needs water in normal circumstances, and this only increases if you are exerting yourself physically.
Because of this, you not only need to make sure that you drink plenty of liquids prior to your workout, but that you also have water to hand to replenish your levels of hydration during and after a session.
Seek medical attention rather than putting up with pain
The temptation to try and tough out an obvious injury you’ve acquired through exercise may be strong, but there’s nothing good about letting an issue go untreated.
Usual feelings of soreness and exercise-related aches and pains should dissipate within 24 to 48 hours, so these shouldn’t be cause for concern. However, if you are still in significant discomfort after this period, do your best to consult a physician sooner rather than later.
Every fitness fan will experience injuries at some point, but you shouldn’t just accept this fate. Instead, by preparing properly and exercising safely, you can majorly minimize the likelihood of hurting yourself.